Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Alistair Barrie: No more stage 3, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kate Copstick.
Yes, this is a “my wife got cancer” show, but as cancer shows go, it is up there with the best.
Alistair Barrie is an elegant, accomplished comic, whether metamorphosing into a pampered pooch in Battersea Park, extolling the joys of moving to Hertfordshire and buying chest freezers, or commenting on his mother’s eclectic bird-feeding menu.
He describes a hair-raising (although Al doesn’t have much hair to raise nowadays) return flight from Afghanistan, and relives the moment he got the text that told him his wife had grade three breast cancer. Despite traumatic times as his wife endures chemo, hair loss and hormonal hell, Barrie manages to find the comedy in their situation. It’s a cleverly crafted show which doesn’t even drop the C bomb until about 20 minutes in, although the title might be a giveaway, and there is a Spoiler Alert at the start.
So I feel I can let you know that no-one dies. In fact, the show leaves us on a high note heading towards both reconstruction and reproduction in the not too distant future. Maybe in time for next year’s Edinburgh show, who knows?
Barrie calls himself a “post-alternative comedian”. You get politics and pointed comment mixed with urbane anecdote and self-deprecation and all wrapped in such beautifully-crafted, perfectly-timed material.
Entertaining, always. Moving, yes. Maudlin, no. You even get some useful cancer dos and don’ts at the end.
Here are mine: Do go and see the show if you know someone with cancer. Do go and see the show if you have cancer and want an uplift (that wasn’t a breast joke). And if you’ve never even heard of cancer, go and see it, it’s just a great show.
Movement (Venue 56) until 29 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 19 August 2015
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest